Chelsea completes Eden Hazard deal
The Belgium international, one of the most sought after players in Europe after some stellar shows for Lille, put an end to speculation over his future by revealing he had signed for Chelsea last week.
The Blues have now officially confirmed the transfer, for a fee believed to be in the region of £32million, seeing off a roll call of European heavyweights in the process.
Chelsea were always known to be keen on Hazard, but it was only after watching them beat Bayern on penalties in Munich last month that the 21-year-old decided they were the club for him.
"I watched the Champions League Final like everybody else," he told the club’s official website.
"It puts a bit more pressure on the players who are already here but they’re used to it, and I think I’m pretty good at coping under pressure.
"It’s true that initially there were a number of clubs in for me, but when Chelsea won the Champions League I thought: ‘Why not?’
"It was a complicated decision with lots of different factors involved, but the fact that they have great players and are European champions, also coming to London – I know people here already and there are a few French speakers – I think I have made the right decision."
Winning the Champions League ensured Chelsea ended the season with two more trophies in their cabinet, having already seen off Liverpool to win the FA Cup.
Such success has been commonplace throughout the Roman Abramovich era but Hazard, who won Ligue 1 with Lille in 2011, knows even more can be achieved, especially if Chelsea can improve on their sixth-place finish in the Premier League.
"Chelsea had a great season even if we didn’t do very well in the league," he added. "By anybody’s standards winning two cups is a great achievement, so it will be a big challenge to do better.
"We’re equipped to do that and all I can hope is that while I’m here we can win a lot of trophies, that’s what I’m aiming for."
With Belgium having failed to qualify for the European Championships, Hazard will have the summer to recuperate before linking up with his new club for pre-season training.
A crafty, forward-thinking player, Hazard follows in the footsteps of Lille team-mate Joe Cole in signing for Chelsea, with the England international having done so eight years ago.
Cole had some kind words to say about the club, and that also helped Hazard make his decision.
"I spoke to Joe Cole and what he said above all was that Chelsea was the right club for me," he said.
"As somebody who loves the club himself, he said he could really see me in the shirt, so when I see him next I’ll tell him he was right.
"It’s a dream come true for me. I can’t wait to get started and for the season to start so I can meet my new team-mates, the supporters and all the people who are involved."
Hazard is Chelsea’s second summer signing after Marko Marin, players Abramovich appears to believe can help deliver the exciting brand of football he craves.